What is in this article?:
- Residue management can reduce continuous corn yield penalty
- Residue prep is key
- Yield penalty triples during years 3 to 7
- Stover harvest aids continuous corn management
- Fred Curtin’s continuous-corn management practices
- The average continuous corn yield penalty increases with more years of corn production, rising 268% from year 3 to year 7, according to Illinois research.
- “During a good year, there is very little continuous corn yield penalty,” says Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin corn agronomist. “But in a bad year, the continuous corn yield penalty is especially bad.”
- In an intensively managed continuous corn system, removing half of corn stover boosted yields by 19 bushels per acre, compared to no stover removal, says University of Illinois soil scientist Laura Gentry, research leader. However, that wasn’t enough to recoup the continuous corn yield penalty, which ranged from 25 to 49 bushels per acre.
Stover harvest aids continuous corn management
Fred Curtin’s residue management system for continuous corn includes baling cornstalks on selected fields for cattle bedding and feed. To maintain soil quality, “We don’t remove more than 50% of residue,” says the Stonington, Ill., farmer, “and we don’t harvest residue from the same fields every year.”
Research at two sites at the University of Illinois research farm in Champaign in 2011 and 2012 (four replications) evaluated the effects of stover removal on the continuous-corn yield penalty. In an intensively managed continuous-corn system, removing half of corn stover boosted yields by 19 bushels per acre, compared to no stover removal, says soil scientist Laura Gentry, research leader. However, that wasn’t enough to recoup the continuous-corn yield penalty, which ranged from 25 to 49 bushels per acre.